John Carroll University, founded in 1886, is a private, coeducational, Catholic, and Jesuit university. It provides programs in the liberal arts, sciences, education, and business at the undergraduate level, and in selected areas at the master’s level. The University also offers its facilities and personnel to the Greater Cleveland community.
As a university, John Carroll is committed to the transmission and enrichment of the treasury of human knowledge with the autonomy and freedom appropriate to a university. As a Catholic university, it is further committed to seek and synthesize all knowledge, including the wisdom of Christian revelation. In the pursuit of this integration of knowledge, the University community is enriched by scholarship representing the pluralistic society in which we live. All can participate freely in the intellectual, moral, and spiritual dialog necessary to this pursuit. Within this dialog, in which theological and philosophical questions play a crucial role, students have the opportunity to develop, synthesize, and live a value system based on respect for and critical evaluation of facts; on intellectual, moral, and spiritual principles which enable them to cope with new problems; and on the sensitivity and judgment that prepare them to engage in responsible social action.
In a Jesuit university, the presence of Jesuits and colleagues who are inspired by the vision of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus in 1540, is of paramount importance. This vision, which reflects the value system of the Gospels, is expressed in the Spiritual Exercises, the source of Jesuit life and mission. To education the Jesuit spirit brings a rationality appropriately balanced by human affection, an esteem for the individual as a unique person, training in discerning choice, openness to change, and a quest for God’s greater glory in the use of this world’s goods. Commitment to the values that inspired the Spiritual Exercises promotes justice by affirming the equal dignity of all persons and seeks balance between reliance on divine assistance and natural capacities. The effort to combine faith and culture takes on different forms at different times in Jesuit colleges and universities. Innovation, experiment, and training for social leadership are essential to the Jesuit tradition.
At the same time, John Carroll University welcomes students and faculty from different religious backgrounds and philosophies. Dedicated to the total development of the human, the University offers an environment in which every student, faculty, and staff person may feel welcomed. Within this environment there is concern for the human and spiritual developmental needs of the students and a deep respect for the freedom and dignity of the human person. A faculty not only professionally qualified, but also student oriented, considers excellence in interpersonal relationships as well as academic achievement among its primary goals.
The University places primary emphasis on instructional excellence. It recognizes the importance of research in teaching as well as in the development of the teacher. In keeping with its mission, the University especially encourages research that assists the various disciplines in offering solutions to the problems of faith in the modern world, social inequities, and human needs.
The commitment to excellence at John Carroll University does not imply limiting admissions to the extremely talented student only. Admission is open to all students who desire and have the potential to profit from an education suited to the student’s needs as a person and talents as a member of society.
The educational experience at John Carroll University provides opportunities for the students to develop as total human persons. They should be well grounded in liberalizing, humanizing arts and sciences; proficient in the skills that lead to clear, persuasive expression; trained in the intellectual discipline necessary to pursue a subject in depth; aware of the interrelationship of all knowledge and the need for integration and synthesis; able to make a commitment to a tested scale of values and to demonstrate the self-discipline necessary to live by those values; alert to learning as a life-long process; open to change as they mature; respectful of their own culture and that of others; aware of the interdependence of all humanity; and sensitive to the need for social justice in response to current social pressures and problems.
John Carroll University’s Catholic and Jesuit Mission and Identity is Affirmed by the Provincial
In his letter dated September 22, 2016, Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province , explained that Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus confidently affirmed the Catholic and Jesuit identity of John Carroll University. This affirmation is the result of a yearlong Mission Priority Examen process of self-study and priority setting, peer review, and approval by the Provincial. John Carroll was one of only three schools identified to undergo the first round of this process.
Fr. Paulson explained that the Father General gave a “positive evaluation” of John Carroll’s Mission Examen and “indicated that the catalog of ways you already embody the Characteristics of Jesuit Higher Education, is impressive.” Fr. Nicolás was also “very encouraged by the [peer] evaluation and noted that the visitors ‘confidently affirm the strong, lived commitment of the University to its Jesuit, Catholic mission values and endorse the University community’s vision and priorities for strengthening this commitment in the future.'”
In May 2008, the John Carroll University Board of Directors adopted the University’s Catholicity statement, The Jesuit Catholic Identity of John Carroll University, which describes the University’s Jesuit Catholic character as being a single reality based on the integration of faith and culture – this was Pope John Paul II’s primary message in his statement on Catholic higher education–Ex Corde Ecclesiae. We developed our Catholicity statement through a widely inclusive dialogue over nearly two years with people of all faiths.
1. The Catholic Character. The Catholic character of John Carroll University is centered on its relationship to the Word of God. For the Catholic the term Word of God signifies that the self-revelation of God within human life climaxes in Jesus as the Christ. It is Christ who manifests that “God is with us, to liberate us from sin and death and to raise us to eternal life” (Vatican II, Constitution on Revelation, #4). Whatever enhances the human ability to recognize in word and deed the dynamics of the reality of mystery as embedded in all human activity is in the widest sense a catholic moment. Therefore, for the believer the Catholic character of John Carroll University dwells within all human knowledge and wisdom, within all human technology and professional skill, and within all artistic creation and human compassion. But there is a particular care for the treasury of wisdom, meaning, beauty, and ethical commitment that is part of the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition.
Those who are also part of this educational community in its search for wisdom, meaning, and beauty but who stand within other religious and ethical traditions share intimately in this enterprise. In this most inclusive sense, then, John Carroll University is a community of faith; that is, it is an educational community that commits itself to an ecumenical and inter-religious right to ask and to pursue questions that are ethical and religious, questions that lead us to appreciate the mystery that also constitutes human life.
John Carroll is also Catholic in its engagement with the world. Just as Jesus the Christ has no meaning if he is isolated from his human culture so, too, believers have no
meaning if they are isolated from their human culture. Certainly, the gospel celebrates the grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God and one another that characterizes our faith. But the gospel also invites us to be part of the life and development of all human reality, especially in its age-old struggle for truth, justice, and peace. All the John Carroll community shares this mission of engaging the world as searchers of truth, teachers of justice, and mentors for peace.
Finally, John Carroll University is Catholic in its radical commitment to forging a community that is faithful to the asceticism of authentic dialogue with others, faithful in its mutual respect for the inherent dignity of all peoples, and faithful in the practice of a Eucharistic-inspired hospitality that welcomes all God’s people.
In short, John Carroll University desires to create an environment where the tradition and culture of Catholicism profoundly and creatively influence its search for wisdom and understanding and its formation for service. However, as a university community, it welcomes other approaches and expects and honors the right to question as the enduringly best human way to appropriate for oneself both the culture and tradition of Catholicism.
2. The Jesuit Character. The Catholic character of John Carroll University is intimately bound to the Ignatian spiritual heritage and the Jesuit tradition of interpreting that heritage. From its inception the Society of Jesus has embraced the ministry of the Word as central to its apostolic identity and pastoral mission. That commitment means that Jesuits see themselves as among those who sustain the command of Christ to “go into the entire world and proclaim the good news to all creation” [Mark 16:15]. The ministry of the Word developed early in the Jesuit culture into a diversity of creative
enterprises, chief among these being the schools. For the early Jesuits the schools were not simply places of educational process but communities where all inquiry led to a reverence for the creation of God and a fuller understanding of the God of creation. All knowledge became part of God’s word, an insight into the humanity of Christ, and the foundation for a society of humane learning and professional competence. That dimension of the Jesuit tradition endures today at John Carroll in the rich variety of intellectual disciplines and skills that constitute the environment of the contemporary university.
Fidelity to the word of God inspires service to the world that God so loved that he sent his only Son. The contemporary Jesuit commitment to a faith that expresses itself in scholarly research and teaching and in works of justice and solidarity flourishes in a climate of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. In the contemporary university the motivations for this commitment are religiously and philosophically diverse but ought to be no less generous, no less profound, and no less graced than the educational commitment to service of the early Jesuits. Today commitment to the works of truth, justice, and peace binds the faculty, staff, and student body of John Carroll University to an essential characteristic of its Ignatian heritage and Jesuit tradition.
The Jesuit character of John Carroll University dwells in its community, whose members dedicate themselves both to scholarly work and teaching and service: service within the Carroll community, service to the community beyond Carroll, and service to the future generations of our world. Within the Jesuit tradition the phrase cura personalis has been used to cover a multitude of relationships between students and the educational and professional personnel within the schools. What the phrase means is the ability to
adapt the total educational experience to the talents, needs, and personalities of the students. It is a student-centered commitment. It is a commitment with a tradition that originated in the personal experience of Ignatius Loyola and, more than any other inspiration, linked his personal experience to the founding of the Society of Jesus. Today the vision and value of helping people ought to frame all activity at John Carroll University. This vision and value should manifest itself in a mutual openness among faculty, staff, administrators, and students. To that end, the Ignatian heritage and the Jesuit interpretation of that heritage should create a climate of trust in which every member of the community feels that she or he can pursue her or his dream, ask her or his deepest questions, and fulfill her or his professional and spiritual ambitions. Only in such a climate can service be embraced as both personal fulfillment and a commitment to others.
Conclusion. The Catholic and Jesuit character of John Carroll University is a single reality. It represents a commitment to a Church within the world, serving the human search for truth and value and for justice and solidarity. It also represents a reverence for the transcendent vision that Christ preached and lived as the final best expression of human fulfillment. This Catholic and Jesuit character inspires and guides the intellectual, professional, and ethical labors that make John Carroll a university.
To view the full text of the Catholicity Statement in PDF format, please click here.
To see our Catholicity Brochure in PDF format, please click here.